NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 19990046718: Standard Giant Branches in the Washington Photometric System
Publication date 1998-01-01
Topics NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS), PHOTOMETRY, CALIBRATING, GLOBULAR CLUSTERS, METALLICITY, OPEN CLUSTERS, SENSITIVITY, CHARGE COUPLED DEVICES, COLOR, COSTA RICA, ERRORS, MAGNITUDE, SPACING, STELLAR EVOLUTION, STELLAR SPECTRA, Geisler, Doug, Sarajedini, Ata,
We have obtained CCD photometry in the Washington system C, T(sub 1) filters for some 850,000 objects associated with 10 Galactic globular clusters and 2 old open clusters. These clusters have well-known metal abundances, spanning a metallicity range of 2.5 dex from [Fe/H] approx -2.25 to +0.25 at a spacing of approx. 0.2 dex. Two independent observations were obtained for each cluster and internal checks, as well as external comparisons with existing photoelectric photometry, indicate that the final colors and magnitudes have overall uncertainties of 0.03 mag. Analogous to the method employed by Da Costa and Armandroff for V, I photometry , we then proceed to construct standard ((M(sub T),(C - T(sub 1))(sub 0)) giant branches for these clusters adopting the Lee et distance scale, using some 350 stars per globular cluster to define the giant branch. We then determine the metallicity sensitivity of the ((C - T(sub 1))(sub 0) color at a given M((sub T)(sub 1)) value. The Washington system technique is found to have three times the metallicity sensitivity of the V, I technique. At M((sub T)(sub 1)) = -2 (about a magnitude below the tip of the giant branch, roughly equivalent to M(sub I) = -3), the giant branches of 47 Tuc and M15 are separated by 1.16 magnitudes in (V - l)(sub 0) and only 0.38 magnitudes in (V - I)(sub 0). Thus, for a given photometric accuracy, metallicities can be determined three times more precisely with the Washington technique. We find a linear relationship between (C - T(sub l)(sub 0) (at M(sub T)(sub 1) = -2) and metallicity exists over the full metallicity range, with an rms of only 0.04 dex. We also derive metallicity calibrations for M(sub T)(sub 1) = -2.5 and -1.5, as well as for two other metallicity scales. The Washington technique retains almost the same metallicity sensitivity at faint magnitudes , and indeed the standard giant branches are still well separated even below the horizontal branch. The photometry is used to set upper limits in the range 0.03 - 0.09 dex for any intrinsic metallicity dispersion in the calibrating clusters. The calibrations are applicable to objects with ages approx. greater than 5 Gyr - any age effects are small or negligible for such objects. This new technique is found to have many advantages over the old two-color diagram technique for deriving metallicities from Washington photometry. In addition to only requiring 2 filters instead of 3 or 4, the new technique is generally much less sensitive to reddening and photometric errors, and the metallicity sensitivity is many times higher. The new technique is especially advantageous for metal-poor objects. The five metal-poor clusters determined by Geisler et al., using the old technique, to be much more metal-poor than previous indications, yield metallicities using the new technique which are in excellent agreement with the Zinn scale.
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